Sonic Superplay: Aquarium Park with Blaze the Cat (Modded Sonic Generations)



Cheating a little bit this week as I teased and released this video two weeks back, but because of E3, the Elder Kings livestream and Zelda (not to mention the effort it took to record this video), plus some personal stuff, I couldn't get a second video out in time for today. I wanted to do a video on Titanic: Honor and Glory's new demo, which just came out, but given that thing is 6 gigabytes and I have joke Internet, downloading, installing and learning it in time to record, edit and upload a video on it wasn't going to happen in a week. Did get some stuff on the Steam Summer Sale, and hopefully some of that will show up on the channel someday soon.

But hey, this should still be new to many of you.

A "superplay" is what we used to call a tool-assisted speedrun without the tool assits. It's what we did to hone our focus back before people could add hacking tools to video games. It is a finely tuned runthrough of a video game level based on personal familiarity with and mastery of a game's mechanics and layout. I take it to mean a run with no mistakes, taking no damage and moving in a stream of unbroken movements and actions.

This is a video of what I'm calling a "superplay" of Aquarium Park, a mod stage for Sonic Generations based on a level from the 2010 Wii game Sonic Colors. I'm going to talk more about this in a future video, but to me this level perfectly encapsulates everything I love about Sonic the Hedgehog games, so I thought making a video about it would be the perfect way to celebrate Sonic's anniversary. It's in many ways the definitive example of everything I want from one type of video game, and it's the kind of game SEGA does better than anyone else.

Blaze the Cat, for those understandably unaware of the Sonic series' Byzantine lore, is basically the female version of Sonic from an alternate universe. She has all his powers and abilities, just in slightly different forms. I really wanted to play as her for this for a lot of different reasons, so thankfully there's a mod that lets me do that!

I'm going to try and record that follow-up video sometime this week, so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and set the alert if you want to see that as soon as it goes up. In the meantime, you can get Sonic Generations on Steam, Aquarium Park here and the "Blazy Mix" mod on ModDB. You're also going to want the SonicGMI mod manager, as well as the Unleashed FX Pipeline shaders if you want to really make this game look its best (This is a 2011 game running on 2008 tech, so it should run fine on any relatively modern rig).



Harmen 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm kind of fascinated by the idea of Jack Graham watching and reading this. More then I should be, to be honest.

Anyway, you've made clear how much you like Generations Josh. But I've wondered what you make of the earlier Sonic games. Sonic Colors, for instance, is for me one of the great Wii platformers. Curious to hear your thoughts.

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Josh Marsfelder 1 year, 1 month ago

I've been a big Sonic fan from the beginning!

Totally agreed with you IRT Sonic Colors. One of the great Wii platformers, and one of the great Sonic games. Frankly, Top 3 or 5 for me. And Aquarium Park was always a massive standout, so this mod was *very* highly anticipated for me, I don't think I could have asked for anything better TBH.

I remember Sonic from as early as the Mega Drive games. I'm of the somewhat controversial opinion the first one is the best and they go in declining quality from there, but I'm a Mario person too. Sonic 2 has some fantastic moments of its own, and I adore the look and vibe of Sonic CD (I just wish its level design was better).

I did play the Sonic Adventure games as well. I thought the first one was very impressive for its time, but I played the second one more. City Escape is a wonderful, classic level and I love Sonic's physics in that game (Green Forest/White Jungle is a terrific showcase of that). I thought Sonic Heroes was fine (actually perhaps a bit underrated), but Shadow the Hedgehog and the 2006 reboot are as bad as everyone says they are.

Me being mostly a handheld gamer, I'm *all* about the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series, and I think that's actually where Sonic really comes into his own. I played those games *to death*, and they're still to this day among my very favourite Sonic games. The Sonic Rush games in particular: The addition of the boost and tricking mechanics gave the series something it didn't even know it was missing, and the aforementioned Blaze the Cat changes the game in a lot of really radical and positive ways. Of the two Sonic Rush Adventure is my favourite due to its gorgeous aesthetics and catchy, bubbly soundtrack, but Hideki Naganuma's work on the first game's score is top-notch stuff (if quintessentially 2005). And the sprite art in Sonic Advance is beautifully adorable and memorable.

Sonic Unleashed brought some innovations, particularly in its first steps towards refining the Rush style of gameplay, but it wasn't terribly *good* IMO. But the Unleashed Project, which mods its stages into Generations, gives it a needed second life and critical re-evaluation. I'll defend Sonic Lost World more than most people will because it's an interesting thought experiment about what the cancelled Sonic X-Treme might have looked like. But I can't pretend it was terribly successful either, though the first level is grand. The Sonic Boom games are a massive letdown to the show's young fans, and I can't understand how SEGA dropped the ball so badly on them (though the latest 3DS one is...passable, at least).

I'm looking forward to both Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, but actually mostly Forces. The main game and its story don't interest me much (like I said in my E3 writeup, it's not being made for me, which I am totally in favour of), but I hope it's as friendly to and is adopted as readily as Generations was by the PC mod community.

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Harmen 1 year, 1 month ago

Same for me on the handheld gamer front. Had the first two Sonic Advance games as well along with Sonic Rush and agree that the portable games were great and are still pretty underrated.

For me, i'm looking forward to Mania the most. I love the look of it. But Forces also looks pretty good. At least the series bottomed out with '06'.

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Josh Marsfelder 1 year, 1 month ago

Sonic Advance 3 is interesting if you've never played it: It's one of the only true co-op Sonic games, something the Game Boy Advance lends itself quite well to. It's good and has some neat levels (especially Sunset Hill), but I don't like it quite as much as I do the first two.

I'll go to bat for Sonic Rush Adventure any day. If you liked the first game, I can't recommend the sequel enough. It's everything that's good about the original Rush but greatly improved and tightened, and its levels and festive, tropical atmosphere are among my favourites in the whole franchise. It's also a more palatable The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker sequel than The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass ;-)

The DS version of Sonic Colors isn't bad either, playing quite a bit like the spiritual successor to the Advance and Rush games (though the lack of Blaze is a big bummer). I actually think the DS version of Planet Wisp is the best of any of them.

The 3DS version of Sonic Generations, by stark contrast, is sadly best avoided.

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David Faggiani 1 year, 1 month ago

That looks SOOOOO fun :)

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Josh Marsfelder 1 year, 1 month ago

It sure is for me :-)

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